The Chanel Boy.Friend watch – when I first saw the release for this watch I wanted to hate it. After all, it appears to be your typical quartz fashion watch. But I was wrong. It isn’t – it’s actually mechanical. And even though the design appears to be simple, when you take a closer look, you can see that it references a very popular design from a bygone era. It is still made by a fashion brand, but Chanel isn’t just any fashion brand (and hey, if John Mayer can get down with it, so can I).*
*Disclaimer: I happen to have a lot of respect for Chanel as a fashion house so this is nothing against the brand. Karl, I love you. A little background on Chanel Boy.Friend watch . Chanel has been making wristwatches since the year 1987. The first collection, the aptly named Première Collection, was inspired by the design of the iconic No. 5 perfume bottle and the 2.55 handbag. The debut collection was under the creative direction of Jacques Helleu, and the Première Collection is still a major collection in the luxury brand’s watch portfolio. Chanel watches are assembled in Chanel’s workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds, and they partner with ETA to create their movements. Additionally, Chanel partners with other makers to develop new movements like the Chanel RMT-10 movement, exclusively designed for Chanel by Renaud et Papi Manufacture; Chanel also uses the highly regarded Audemars Piguet caliber AP 3125 automatic movement in the J-12. The Chanel Boy.Friend watch uses a ETA 7001 manual-winding movement. The brand has five major collections, the Première (mentioned earlier), the J12 (probably the most recognizable), the Mademoiselle Privé, Jewelry Watches, and now the Boy.Friend. The name of the watch, “Boy.Friend,” coquettishly refers to the fact that as a woman, if you wear this watch, your boyfriend will want to steal it from you. Now, I don’t know if this applies to ALL boyfriends, but truth be told, the guys in the office were not completely repulsed by this watch (cough – Jack Forster). I think that the possible reason behind this, is that the Boy.Friend takes cues from earlier designs such as the original Cartier Tank and vintage Patek Philippe (similar to a Reference 431, see image below). The case details are very interesting with the stepped bezel and canted corners, it becomes much softer than your standard rectangular case (normally not my cup of tea). After taking a closer look you realize that this watch is full of small carefully chosen details, creating an understated yet unique piece. The Chanel Boy.Friend watch comes in two sizes, medium (26.7mm x 34.6mm) and large (28.6 mm x 37 mm). Within those sizes, it is available in plain “beige” gold with and without diamonds and white gold with diamonds. The “beige” gold is the brand’s name for an exclusive Chanel alloy, and the color reads as somewhere in between pink and yellow gold. Along with black and white, the color beige is one of the brand’s three iconic colors and was a favorite of founder, Gabrielle Chanel’s. You have to give Chanel credit for designing an understated, elegant, wearable and functional watch that doesn’t look like a diamond-encrusted floral cake. It is clean, simple, and needs to be wound. Something admirable in today’s world of women’s watches. Is this watch for your boyfriend? I doubt it. But it certainly makes a great case.